Thousands displaced, stranded by floods in Batticaloa-Amparai
[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 December 2002, 23:23 GMT]
Continuing torrential rain in Batticaloa-Amparai has affected 94549 families, 8577 families have abandoned their homes and sought refuge in schools, temples and public buildings, 1406 homes have been damaged and thousands of acres of paddy fields have been destroyed by flood water, officials in
The Paduvankarai area under the LTTE's control, Eravur, Senkalady, Valaichenai and Vakarai areas have sustained the most damage. On the Batticaloa-Valaichenai main road, in Mayilambaveli, Siththandy, Sunkankaerny and Eravur, floods and damaged culverts have disrupted transport. On the
Colombo road, as floods are flowing over the Mannampiddy bridge, only vehicles with high axles are able to drive across.
In Vakarai, as the Pannichankerni bridge is damaged and overflowing, people can travel by boats only. In this area, 3779 families have been affected, 322 families have sought refuge in schools and 24 homes have been completely
destroyed, according to officials.
Many villages in the Valaichenai and Kiran areas have been submerged in floods. Transport to the areas in Paduvankarai beyond the irrigation tank -Pendukalsenai, Poolakkadu, Kolaveli, Thihiliveddai, Pirambaditheevu, Saraveli, Pulipainthakal- have been completely cut off causing untold hardships to residents. Hundreds of villagers have traveled by boats and catamarans to seek refuge in schools in Kinniyady, Valaichenai and Kiran.
In the Valaichenai secretariat's division, 5153 families have been affected and 775 families are displaced. In the Kiran secretariat's division, 5049 families have been affected and 600 families have been displaced, officials said.
In the Ottamavadi area, 4483 families have been affected and 500 families have sought refuge with friends and relatives.
The Chenkaladay area has been severely affected. Many villages here have been submerged in floods. 13035 families have been affected and 3148 families have been displaced. The Siththandy, Mavadivembu, Vantharumoolai, Uthayanmoolai, Kaluwankerni, Iyankerni villages are submerged in flood waters. In addition, as the Santhanamadu and Vannathy rivers overflowed, most villagers beyond the irrigation tank are stranded.
Almost every village in Batticaloa-Amapara, from Pattipalai to
Kaluwanchikkudy is facing the same dilemma, with thousands affected and hundreds seeking refuge in safer places.
As the rain continues, it is feared the situation could become worse. Meanwhile, Social Welfare Services Minister Mr. Ravindra Samaraweera and the minister of rehabilitation and reconstruction for the Eastern province, Mr. Rauff Hakeem, visited Batticaloa in the afternoon today to inspect the
flood-ravaged areas. The government agent Mr. Mounagurusamy held an emergency meeting with the ministers at the Batticaloa secretariat. Eastern
Province parliamentarians, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham and Mr. J. Krishnapillai and Mr. Ali Zahir Moulana, consultant to the policy implementation ministry, also participated.
Minister Samaraweera said at the meeting that a sum of 20 million rupees for the affected people has been already allocated and that another 20 million
will be made available. Furthermore, he said that boats should be hired to rescue people stranded in floods and provide them shelter in public places. If the situation gets worse, the Airforce would be used to help in the rescue, he said.
The minister said that aid allocated for the displaced people should reach them without any misuse of the funds by administrators. The GA has directed the divisional secretaries to assess the situation in their respective divisions and provide prompt relief to the people.
Using the currently allocated fund, government officials are attempting to provide dry food and in some areas cooked food to the displaced people. World Vision, UNICEF, UNHCR, CARE, and SOKA are also engaged in providing relief to the affected people in the Valaichenai area.
In the Amparai district, Thirukovil, Sainthamaruthu and the Karaitivu areas have been flooded, displacing hundreds of families. Ministers Samaraweera and Hakeem have directed the government agent to provide relief to the affected people.